The Netherlands loses robot football World Cup to China

RoboCup is a series of robotics competitions founded in Japan, and held annually since 1997. Events are designed to challenge the world’s cutting-edge robotics innovators to push new boundaries.

Robots compete in events across six categories: Football, Rescue, @Home, @Work, Sponsored and RoboCup Junior.

All categories involve "research goals" that engage robotics engineers in critical ways. In the Rescue category, for instance, robots must be able to search for and locate victims on an obstacle course.

Competitions are given new, more challenging rules each year to ensure that innovation progresses.

A Dutch team in the finals

This year, RoboCup took place in the city of Hefei in eastern China, and its most popular event - robot football - ended in a finale match between a Chinese and a Dutch team. In the end, the Chinese won with a score of 4-1.

Tech United, a team of football-playing robots from the Eindhoven University of Technology, failed to match the strong defence put on by Water, a team created at the Beijing Information Science and Technology University.

A robot’s game

The football competitions require teams to set "cooperative multi-robot and multi-agent systems in dynamic adversarial environments".

By 2050, the RoboCup community hopes to have fostered the development of fully autonomous, humanoid robots that can beat the best human football players.

This year’s championship China-Netherlands football match was for the top spot in the Middle-Sized Robot League, one of five leagues in the competition.

These approximately 80-cm robots play the game in teams of five, equipped with sensors and on-board computers, and without any human intervention.

There are separate leagues for Humanoid, Small, Standard Platform and Simulation robots.

Robotic rivals: Water and Tech United

2015 marks the third year in a row that Tech United has faced off against Water for the top spot in their league.

The Eindhoven team has won twice against Water, in 2012 and most recently in 2014, with a spectacular 3-2 victory in the Brazilian city of Joao Pessoa. Eindhoven even hosted RoboCup in 2013.

Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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